Storm set to mar serene beauty

Mesmerising: The beauty of western ghats as seen from Hongadahalla village in Sakleshpur taluk, Hassan district. DH photo

This village on the fringes of western ghats  presents a pretty picture. It is the most romantic image of any village that one can think of, what with its greenery, simple life surrounded with agriculture and villagers who rarely crib about absence of basic infrastructure.

But, underneath the calm surface, is a storm that is brewing. The villagers of Hongadahalla, have been living in constant fear since the last two decades after Gundia hydroelectric project was okayed. Since then, the process of acquiring land to build the reservoir has started.

However, the survey  will decide the quantity of land that will be acquired for the project.
Three public meetings have been held so far, yet, no consensus has been reached yet.

Renowned environmentalist Sundarlal Bahuguna and his wife even visited this village. The works and words of the government have left the villagers mightily confused.

All of them are perturbed with the fact that they have to leave the village where their ancestors lived, and built houses, had families and left behind legacies.

Those artistically built sturdy houses which have seen generations live in them, may soon be a goner. And this has been the case since last 20 years.

Without the slightest knowledge of what lies ahead, many families have given up on carrying out even minor repair works on their houses since they feel it is a waste of money.

Villagers blame the government for playing around with the lives and future of villagers without giving them a clear picture about what lies ahead. Though the village has buses plying, there are hardly any roads. No one is willing to take it up and seek facilities since uncertain future stares them in the face.

Half the time, the village has no contact with outer world, thanks to failed electric lines and telephones. The village is barely a beneficiary of any developmental project announced by the government, for the simple reason that the village isn’t supposed to survive.

Excess rains have spoilt the cardamom, ginger and coffee crops; however, villagers can barely complain since according to records, their village has turned dark, so that the rest of the state can get its share of light. 

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